Summer intern builds on museum experience

When she applied for an internship at the Cayman National Museum, Kierstin Stewart wanted to find out what aspect of the islands’ history visitors found most interesting. What she got was a closer look at her own cultural heritage. 

The Trent University graduate, who majored in history with a minor in cultural studies, said she also learned a lot about the organization during her summer break. 

“I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to work within a range of roles carried out at the museum,” said Ms. Stewart. “My experience here allowed me to progress as a working professional and has brought me closer to my culture and heritage.” 

Ms. Stewart started at the museum as a retail clerk in the summer of 2012. The opportunity gave her a chance to interact with visitors to the island and to learn more about what aspects of Caymanian history they found most interesting, she said. 

After completing her degree, she returned to the museum in the role of collections manager trainee for a year and a half. Ms. Stewart helped catalog the museum’s collection, interviewed people and researched historical material for exhibitions. She also worked with other staff in initiating lectures in cooperation with the International College of the Cayman Islands and the University College of the Cayman Islands. 

“It was incredibly rewarding to teach aspects of our history that many students were surprised to discover. The classes were incredibly interactive and successful; several students wrote their term papers on topics conducted in the classes,” she said. 

Ms. Stewart returned to the museum for five months this summer as a research and special projects assistant, helping with administrative and curatorial work and collecting and developing research for the museum’s 25th anniversary exhibitions scheduled for November. 

She returns to university in Canada in October to pursue her master’s degree in history. 

Peggy Leshikar-Denton, the museum’s director praised Ms. Stewart as “a significant help to museum staff … ready and willing to provide assistance in any area of our organization when asked. 

“Throughout the years as a museum intern and staff member, she has exhibited a strong work ethic and is a good team player. She brings a positive spirit to her work and interpersonal relations, which benefits the working environment here at the museum,” Ms. Denton said. 

Kierstin Stewart, intern at the National Museum.